2023 Annual Fund Tops $10 Million Total giving to all areas reached an impressive $73.9 million, the second highest total in W&L history.
Through the generosity of undergraduate and law alumni, parents, students and friends, Washington and Lee’s 2022-2023 Annual Fund raised $10,293,015 — reaching the $10.25 million goal — to support all areas of the university’s strategic plan, including student opportunities, educational excellence, and leadership and inclusion programs. This represents a 2.85% increase in annual giving over the previous fiscal year. The Annual Fund has exceeded $10 million for eight of the last nine years.
The highest overall Annual Fund participation came from undergraduate alumni, with more than $6.9 million in contributions from 7,050 alumni. Gifts to the Law Annual Fund totaled $1.47 million, with 1,262 law alumni participating.
Total giving to all areas reached an impressive $73.9 million, the second highest total in W&L history, with a 70.35% increase over last fiscal year. The area receiving the highest level of support in 2022-2023 was the Williams School expansion project, a top priority identified from the strategic plan. The university plans to break ground on the new building later this summer. Contributions supporting the full W&L experience — access for every student to all of the programs and opportunities that make a W&L education exceptional — was the next highest category within the overall total.
More than 650 volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the year to garner Annual Fund participation from their fellow classmates and parents. Tom Jennings, vice president for University Advancement, credits the Annual Fund’s success to its dedicated staff and alumni volunteer leadership. “Each year we challenge our W&L community to continue their extraordinary tradition of giving,” said Jennings. “Not only do they show their support financially, but hundreds of alumni and parents also step up to lead the charge, year after year. The success of the Annual Fund is dependent on our volunteers who generously give of their time, talents and resources.”
Reunion classes ending in 3s and 8s celebrated with gifts to the Annual Fund, raising $1.4 million and nearly $5.4 million, respectively, in gifts and pledges. The Class of 1998, led by co-chairs Melissa Foote New and Colin Connolly, raised more than $1 million for both the Annual Fund and the class project, the Williams School expansion, reaching a $2.5 million total in honor of its 25th reunion. The Class of 1973 raised more than $4 million for its 50th reunion, contributing the second largest Annual Fund gift for a 50th reunion class.
Josephine Schaeffer Covington ’96, P’24 led this year’s Annual Fund effort as chair. Covington and her husband, Robert ’97, P’24, are passionate and loyal supporters of W&L’s mission and strategic vision. “As alumni and parents to a current W&L student, we see firsthand the impact that gifts to the Annual Fund have on students, faculty and many of the university’s programs,” she said. “I am beyond grateful for each and every graduate, parent and friend who donated to the Annual Fund this year.”
A vital component of the Annual Fund, the Parents Fund raised $1.66 million or 16% of total annual giving. The Parents Leadership Council welcomed 185 members, and 63 families made gifts of $10,000 or greater. Wimberly and Richard McPhail P’24 served as chairs of the 2022-2023 Parents Leadership Council. “Annual Fund support allows W&L to provide one of the greatest liberal arts educations in the country,” Richard McPhail said. “Each gift to the Parents Fund helps the university provide all students with unparalleled opportunities.”
An almost 100-year-old tradition, the Senior Gift provides seniors the opportunity to give back to the university through gifts to the Annual Fund. An impressive 64% of the Class of 2023 raised $6,840 to support priorities like student success, representing a 21% increase in participation over the last fiscal year. Additionally, 37 members of the class donated gifts of $100 or more, becoming members of The President’s Society at introductory young alumni levels. Tahri Phillips ’23 and Rex Riefler ’23 volunteered to rally their classmates as co-chairs of the Senior Gift Committee. “My W&L experience has been supported by alumni and parents who have donated to the Annual Fund,” said Phillips. “I am grateful for their generosity and proud to contribute to the creation of additional support for future students.”
Gifts help make W&L’s world-class liberal arts education a reality for every student. This year’s record fundraising results play a crucial role in advancing the university’s strategic plan, and the W&L Annual Fund provides the foundation for that work. The university is incredibly grateful for this support and looks forward to welcoming alumni and parents to campus this fall.